Friday, 27 September 2019

Grey day in Scalloway

I was supposed to be in Fair Isle today for work, but the low cloud prevented that. So taking an afternoon off I took my camera for a walk hoping for otters on the falling tide. I didn't see any otters or much wild life in general, but I did get a few nice photos...

In black and white to match the day.

Stone getting loaded on this boat. I've not noticed that before in Scalloway...


War memorial and Castle...


The Swan...


The banks...


 Scalloway light...


Monday, 23 September 2019

A peedie bike trip to Orkney


This last weekend there seemed to be a  clear spell of weather for a friend and I to make a trip to Orkney for a bit of bike exploring before autumn takes hold.

After the evening ferry to Kirkwall we rode to Pickaquoy campsite to stay in a lodge for the weekend. I wasn't sure how my knee would hold up to some more serious cycling, so I atleast wanted to have a decent place to stay and not be committed to riding from bed to bed.


The first morning was dreich; really pretty grim. So we had a lazy start, went for a cooked breakfast did some food shopping and waited for the weather to lift. Later in the afternoon it did so we set out to explore a few off road bits around Kirkwall.


 About 20 miles of quiet roads, tracks and allegedly paths...


We had a good explore and decided the area wasn't too inviting really, though we did enjoy a few nice green lanes.


After battling a long a coastal path and deciding heading for the road might be best, we decided to head for home as we saw a threatening sky heading our way. Luckily we got home just before it got really wet. Atleast we got a couple of hours leg work in!

The next day was the main day of our trip for me. A trip to Hoy to cycle the old postman's road to Rackwick and then out to The Old Man of Hoy. It ended up being a long day of about 60 miles with ferry's.


Hoy ahoy!


Heading to Rackwick via Sandy Loch. The sign said not suitable for pedal cycles and to be fair much of it wasn't too great. Certainly not as good as this...



Looking down on Rack Wick on our way to the Old Man...



It was a pretty stunning day to be out there, and busy too...


Heading back to Rackwick


Rackwick, or Burn's Mouth Bothy...


We headed from Rackwick on road to Lyness for our ferry back, stopping in at the Dwarfie Stane of our way...


Day 3 saw us tackle about 63 miles out on the west of the mainland, heading north from Stromness a long the coast. It was fine, but the strong wind just got stronger.


We had a tail wind up the coast and some great trials.



At the start of the path to Kitchener's memorial...



The end of our northerly run was the Brough of Birsay. Sadly the tide was too far in to get out to the isle so after a cafe stop we headed back to Kirkwall.


The only problem being we were at the far north west of the island and Kirkwall was at the south-east. So, a 20 mile ride back directly into an increasing head wind. It was over 2 soul destroying hours until we go there.

Still, another great day out...


 The next day we were both pretty shattered, the drizzle had returned and the wind was gustier, so we had a lazy day before the ferry home.

And here's a little video of our explorations...





Sunday, 8 September 2019

What we did this summer!

So, I'm going to try to get things going again here and kick off with a review of our most excellent summer holidays!

We headed south to stay in an amazing house right in Braemar that backed on to the river. We' were staying there with my daughter and her family, but we had time to kill before they arrived and we could get access to the house.

Luckily this meant Clare and Beren could enjoy a 26 mile ride around Deeside straight off the over night ferry! The video being in my previous post here.


Loch Knord at the Muir of Dinnet NNR...


Robyn and Adam didn't get to be lazy either. Isla-Rose was given a pass though! We had a nice walk up at Loch Muick near Ballater...


And enjoyed exploring around the Linn of Dee and looking for squirrels and deer.




We had some good runs out and meals out including a very long and hot day trip over to Pitlochry to visit a number of impressive waterfalls like The Black Spout here...


My bike died on the second day and needed a new crankset. Sadly no bike shop in Ballater was able to help, so I hired a bike from The Bothy in Breamar for a ride with Clare to the Chest of Dee, another wonderful water feature of the area.





 

To be fair I've lost track of the places we visited and swam, but the Linn of Quioch was another amazing spot for a soak and cool off.

After a week in Braemar we headed back home to see friends and family. I managed to get my bike fixed and fit in a nice ride on the North York Moors in the Osmotherly area with my brother before Clare and I abandoned Beren with his Nana and headed back north with a few night in Fife on the way.

We stopped off at Chain Bridge Honey Farm just off the A1 to see the bees, have a snack and have a walk on the banks of the Tweed and check out the bridge...


Wild strawberries! We had raspberries too...


It seemed to be a mast year for tree nuts...


The next few days were spend at Montrave Wigwams a quiet estate near the Fife coast with nice walking and riding round about.



The reason for Fife, other than it's lovely, is I wanted to do the Elie Chain Walk. A fun looking coastal route involving climbing up and down chain runs.

And our first treat when arriving at Shell Bay where we started was a pod of dolphins just off shore!


This warning sign didn't mention dodgy knees. If it did I'd have ignored it anyway, but I did suffer for some time after this 'walk'.





Columnar jointed basalt...


It was a great bit of fun.


 Another memorable event was our bike ride to Elie for fish and chips. Didn't know we'd pass Robinson Crusoe on the way!
 

It started off so well on quiet roads and old railway track...


But then some local golf course developer was causing issues and chaining all the gates on the old track, so we hit the dunes...


Which got a bit much for Clare's bike. So we hit the beach...


Which was a bit much for both bikes in parts and then we hit the river...


Hitting the pub for fish and chips and a drink was fine though!

Anyhow, there's a flavour of the summer that was. With any luck (weather dependant) I'm off to Orkney in a couple of weeks for some day rides and a few nights in a wigwam at Pickaquoy. My knee's not up to scrabbling about camping really, but we can't let that stop the fun!